Garden e-Diary—2.19.17

Posted February 19th, 2017 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Garden e-Diary, Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?
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It’s been a long time since I updated you about the Goddess Garden and its surrounding plant beds. My life has been complicated for awhile  and the Garden e-Diary is one of the things that fell by the wayside. I’m in the process of reorganizing now and trying to get back on track with some of the things I have neglected.

The bougainvillea I planted in the center of the front bed is thriving and blooming happily. The oleander that I divided and replanted in the hexagonal beds on either side of the bougainvillea is doing well also.

In addition to being winter, we’ve had mostly dry conditions in Bradenton for the past few months. Some of my plants are struggling BUT, of course, the weeds are proliferating. The Mango Bed at the west end of the front bed is a good example. I weeded it throughly before I left town on Thanksgiving. It was overgrown again when I returned.

I managed to make time to weed it again before I left town, carefully pulling weeds around the ornamental peanut vines that are meant to be ground cover. The peanut vine has thinned considerable with the drought conditions, but is spreading at the same time. I’m hoping for it to really take over this next growing season. I also trimmed the tips off the little mango tree to encourage it to bush rather than sprawl. I added additional mulch in between the plants I’m trying to encourage (after I took the photo below).

I got the weeds back under basic control before I left town. I will be spending more time at the Florida center this spring and hope to really get things shaped up. I will keep you posted!

Ministerial Muses—2.12.17

Posted February 12th, 2017 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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Yesterday’s fundraising sale at Herbie Rose’s studio in the Village of the Arts was a HUGE success!

Volunteers helped water colorist Graciela Giles, Herbie’s wife, get an incredible amount of Herbie’s paintings hung. Local restaurants provided food — and people turned out in droves all day to help support this Manatee mentor in his later years.

Herbie laid the foundation for the growth of creativity here in Bradentnon. We see the manifestation of his vision in the Village of the Arts and the soon-to-begin playful expansion of the South Florida Museum.

I attended the event with Jo Ellen Gorris, owner of one of the original 13 Village studios (Clay in the Garden). She told me that she watched Herbie’s painting show on PBS years ago.

As Bradenton works to put itself on the map as a city of the future, it’s nice to know that we aren’t forgetting the people who have brought us this far.

Ministerial Muses—2.5.17

Posted February 5th, 2017 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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My friend Jo Ellen and I went to a lecture at The Ringling Museum last Tuesday. Anne Patterson was talking about installing Pathless Woods, her fun and inventive room-sized work of art.

If you haven’t experienced this wonder of ribbon and light, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s touchable art that seduces, entertains, and surprises. Bring your inner child if you really want to experience it completely. This is not an intellectual enterprise, despite the fact that Patterson’s credentials are stellar.

I first discovered this special art piece two months ago when my friend Bernie Popovich and I visited the museum to see the new Asian Wing. A security guard told us not to miss Pathless Woods and we didn’t. We were both enchanted.

Hearing about how Patterson, originally schooled as a set designer, stumbled upon this vision, and then figured out how to implement it, only added to my appreciation of the piece. The fact that local volunteers and USF students were involved in the installation made it even more special.

Patterson is working on an installation for Cincinnati next, different but equally exciting. If you enjoy creative experiences, I suggest you keep an eye on her. For me she is not only a compelling artist but someone who has turned her creative skills into a modern-day ministry. (Children lie on the floor and look up at the ribbons floating over head. Adults are now following their example. Enough said.)

Many thanks to The Ringling for bringing this artist to our attention and for giving us the opportunity to engage her one-on-one!

Ministerial Muses—1-29-17

Posted January 29th, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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I’ve never been much of a protestor. In the 60″s when my friends were buying gas masks, I spent Saturdays volunteering at the Children’s Art Carnival of Harlem. I went initially to make the world a better place. As these things work, it ended up being my refuge during a very sad time in my life. The staff and other volunteers were very kind to me and the instant gratification of seeing a child light up just because I brought them more red paint kept me going. (And THANK YOU Betty Blayton Taylor for inviting me into that world.)

So, as I watch the disruptor phenomenon take over our government, I encourage those of you with real helping skills (as opposed to a desire to rescue) to follow the Melinda and Bill Gates paradigm. Rather than rage at the abuses, seek out victims who are desperate to become survivors and offer them your help. If you look at MelindaFrenchGates on Instagram, you’ll find wonderful photos of women facing insurmountable obstacles who have refused to go down for the count.

We can make this a better world, but not by constantly giving up our energy to negativity.

Book of Interest—Renewing the Christian Mind

Posted January 22nd, 2017 by anna and filed in Anna's Books of interest
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Is the Good News of Jesus relevant to us today?

Born out of a file cabinet full of ideas and articles in Willard’s office, this compilation of his work is truly spectacular. Willard was an ordained Southern Baptist minister who built a career as one of the foremost teachers of philosophy in his time. He maintained a unique balance between progressive and conservative thinking which positions him to be increasingly relevant during current ideological debate and its resulting clash of ideas. Black compiled this book with the intention of presenting the full range of Willard’s thoughtful teachings so that readers will have the broadest sense of his work possible.

Despite a career teaching philosophy, Willard firmly believed that spirituality must be solidly grounded in the physical world in order to have true value to human beings. According to Black, Willard had a core belief in the power of ideas to affect everyday life. He devoted much of his career to keeping the Good News of Jesus and his teachings alive and well for humanity. The timeliness of his writings is summed up in the first sentence of the first article in the book: The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our minds to dwell upon.

Those of you who have given up on Christianity might want to take a look at what Willard distilled from the teachings of Jesus, separate from the religious trappings that have been added on to them since his death. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2017 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Ministerial Muses—1-9-17 Thank you, Meryl…

Posted January 9th, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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My cousin Barbie suffered oxygen loss at birth. She never sat up. She never spoke. Her life expectancy was 10 years. She lived more than twice that because her mother, my Aunt Stella, was a nurse. I was in grade school when Aunt Stella sat me down next to Barbie and taught me how to connect with the person she was inside. As I grow older I become more aware of how life altering those moments were for me.

Years later, my childhood friend Edwina and her family were live-in supervisors in a home for abused children. I visited them there often. I held hyperactive infants and played with hyperactive toddlers. The term “crack-addicted-at-birth” hadn’t been invented yet. None of us understood why those children were so difficult to help, but Edwina and her husband and her children and I all connected with the people trapped inside those challenged little bodies.

Soon after that I began attending a small Spiritualist Healing Church. Part of their regular service was Healing Chairs where practitioners trained by the church offered healing to the congregants. One of the practitioners was a young woman with Down’s Syndrome whose chair was often left empty. The first time I sat in her chair I was feeling very magnanimous and superior because I had chosen to do so. When she placed her hands on my shoulders to begin the healing, the heavens opened up and I heard the angels singing. A future teacher, Johanna Decourcy, explained to me that high level spiritual beings often choose to incarnate in challenged physical form to make the statement that the spirit and not the body matters.

When Sarah Pallin, accepting the Vice Presidential nomination, introduced her infant Down’s Syndrome son as “perfectly beautiful”, I cried knowing how many parent’s lives would be changed by the statement.

As I watched Meryl Streep last night at the Golden Globes, I assumed, perhaps erroneously, that her motivation was primarily the McCarthy Era. Regardless of the motivation, I thank her, a person who can portray any person she chooses to become, for saying that it’s not okay to further isolate people who face a distancing world every time they leave their homes.

Several months ago, I was waiting for a bus on 116th Street and a large gentleman of color sat down beside me. It was just the two of us. He turned out to be a schizophrenic and recovering drug addict. He worked, very skillfully, to engage me conversation, eventually leading us into the topic of Trump and racist sentiment. Somehow I was guided to tell him that I believed that no one can change the world. We all just have to deal with the circumstances that are presented to us in the best way possible. It must have been the answer that he needed to hear because he began to tell me that he was being moved out of the group home he had been living in and would be moving to a new neighborhood where he didn’t know anybody. I told him that he had very good social skills and he would make friends wherever he went if he just did what he had been doing. I think it was what he needed to hear because he fell silent and a minute later the M116 bus arrived and we went our separate ways. I felt like a success that day as much as I ever have.

Thank you, Aunt Stella. Thank you, Meryl.

Book of Interest—Christian Mystics

Posted December 26th, 2016 by anna and filed in Anna's Books of interest
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Hampton Roads Publishing

How does God speak to you?

The Christianity that most of us are familiar with is layered over with hierarchical ritual and rules which often distant people from the very thing they look to religion to find. In recent times, social trappings have been added to create the illusion of the free flow of Spirit in return for allegiance. The truth is that Christianity was born at a crossroads of major spiritual/religious influences from around the world. If one has the patience to sort through the history and literature with a listening heart, rather than a chattering mind, the roots of all that spiritual wisdom can be found in the written records of the many, many people who have found the door to transcendence within the Christian faiths.

This is not just a book about “saints”, a term which has come to have more to do with morality than spirituality. McColman includes the wisdom of the “heretics” as well. He asks readers to look past the limitations of individual people and understand the spiritual experience of the soul contained within the body.

Written for people who want to encounter the mystics rather than study them, McColman encourages us to read the book devotionally rather than academically, allowing the Holy Spirit to enter our lives and transform us.

This book provides a broad range of examples, from C.S. Lewis to Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King Jr., all of whom have something to share with us, regardless of our motivation for reading about Christian mysticism. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2016 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Ministerial Muses—10.11.16

Posted December 11th, 2016 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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They gathered hesitantly, just before sunset, as the moon was waxing.
They weren’t sure why the ancestors had asked them to be there.
Some of them hadn’t seen each other for quite some time.
As she welcomed them all, casually and with friendship, they began to relax and reminisce.
The Seven Sisters — by arriving as requested they had agreed to become that — The Seven Sisters.
The intense energy made them all uncomfortable, in different ways.
But soon the ancestors had smoothed out the rough edges and blended the various essences in a keynote…
The silent sound carried them all to a place which they recognized but hadn’t expected to visit.
“Why are we here?” she asked.
“Because you have all answered the call to be in service regardless of the personal cost.”
She had intended to ask more questions, but the words had silenced her thoughts.
They returned to the physical plane together, reunited by something which they did not understand.
“Understanding is over rated.”
“What should we do next?” she asked.
“Whatever is asked of you.”
The Sisters smiled and began chatting amongst themselves.

Expect life to respond to your requests now. Think carefully. What have you requested? Serenity, money, love, understanding … It will be clear to you what the consequences of the choice you have made will be. Don’t try and change the results. There are no do-overs at this level. Work with what you asked for.

Book of Interest—Catching the Big Fish

Posted December 4th, 2016 by anna and filed in Anna's Books of interest
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Where do these crazy ideas come from?

There’s a safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milk shake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner. That’s David Lynch sharing his insight into the creative process. Anyone who’s ever left a work project and gone out to sit alone in a restaurant to clear her or his head will recognize it as a gem. It’s one of many contained in this book.

Reprinted as a Tenth Anniversary Edition, it might be more relevant today than ever. Creativity seems to be one of the victims of the money-first, electronic world we live in. It is becoming artisanal, a scarce and illusive commodity. A gift which everyone is born with, most people today have less access to their creative component than their great grandparents did.

David Lynch’s creative credentials are impeccable. I know this first hand. (My personal favorite is Twin Peaks. Sorry, big screen buffs.) To follow Lynch as he meanders through his process is a privilege and a gift. NOTE TO MILLENIALS: Think Steve Jobs and work backwards. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2016 Anna Jedrziewski and

Ministerial Muses—Gwen Ifill, where did you go?

Posted November 20th, 2016 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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My first thought when I heard was, “How could you leave us now when we need you the most?”

Selfish, self-serving, and short-sighted though it was, it was also reflective of the climate that followed the presidential election. And, as it turned out, Gwen was there for us as she has been for decades, to light the path ahead for those who choose to see beyond the drama that continues to keep the masses mesmerized.

I got a knot in my stomach when I noticed her absence on election eve. And Judy Woodruff’s grief stricken face as PBS Newshour acknowledged her passing, reflected my feelings on her loss completely, without a word needeing to be spoken.

Then I realized that sitting in her seat was a next-generation, male immigrant, Hari Sreenivasan. His low-key confidence bespoke the fact that he had earned that chair according to Gwen’s standards — and her choice did her proud as the Newshour began a sad but positive transition to the next level.

In a time when the news media seems to have sunk to a new low, Gwen’s hundreds of mentees stepped forward to speak of her, without exception, in terms of their personal loss (rather than their self-engrandizement) and the legacy they valued and hoped to live up to.

As all this unfolds, I can’t help but wonder how equality in this country might be different if Whitney Young had been healthier and able to continue his fight for equality in the boardroom. But that’s another PBS story.

Lastly, I come to realize that when I turned on the PBS Newshour, I didn’t do so thinking that I was supporting a female journalist or an Afro-American journalist. I relaxed as I tuned PBS in and let my guard down to listen to a woman whom I trusted to tell me her observations honestly and from a thoroughly researched perspective. May those she gave a leg up to continue to honor her by measuring the job they do according to her standards — until they develop standards that surpass hers. (And that would be the greatest way to honor her.)

Godspeed on the next leg of your journey, Gwen. I am so grateful that you touched my life for as long as you did. We will miss you. But then, you’re not really gone, are you?

MESSAGE FROM THE GUIDES… Turmoil comes in the wake of recent changes. Ignore the chaos. Do your own thing and wait for it to be over.